SOA is dead because of its success

Whether businesses are using it is another question

SOA is no longer a buzzword because it is a concept that has received broad industry acceptance and has become built into software products and services, say a CIO and analyst.

Victoria’s Greater Shepparton City Council CIO, Rod Apostol, said SOA has become a commodity and is now an expected outcome.

“It’s taken for granted that SOA is there, like power and water,” Apostol said. “It is a prior expectation and that validates it – it’s nothing special anymore.”

Apostol, a nine-year veteran of the council, has adopted SOA principles for land information management, document management and geospatial systems.

“These are existing legacy apps that have adopted SOA principles,” he said. “We have engaged with vendors who adopted SOA, but generally, as we refreshed the technology, it became service-oriented.”

“The concept is still alive and well. It’s like networking protocols and TCP/IP – it is still very relevant, just taken for granted.”

Springboard Research vice-president, Phil Hassey, said SOA is no longer a buzzword because it has become embedded into the software enterprises purchase, which is a positive outcome for the industry.

“We finally got something right with SOA,” Hassey said. “Name me two other things in IT like that.”

Hassey said the surge around cloud computing and SaaS in recent years has not changed the strategic role of service-oriented architectures, which can be used on-premise or in the cloud.

“The concept of SOA is still the same no matter where it is deployed,” he said.

Shepparton’s Apostol said cloud and SaaS expands on the SOA model and “takes it to a different level”.

As an example, the council has integrated in on-premise land information systems with SaaS e-commerce.

In a 2008 interview with Computerworld, Hassey said services dominate the Australian economy which will drive SOA-related investments in the region as a means of enabling improved and more efficient customer care.

"At the same time, SOA enables organisations to roll out new services more quickly, which can help improve customer satisfaction and would be a driver for adoption," Hassey said.

Back then, Springboard Research estimated the SOA market in Australia and New Zealand would grow from $221.3 million (2006) to $748 million by 2010 – a 36 per cent compound growth rate.

In Sydney to visit customers, Progress Software CTO, John Bates, said while not many people want to talk about SOA anymore and assume it is in the product, “whether they are using it is another question”.

“Business have moved from running their business in a rear-view mirror to being more forward-looking,” Bates said.

Locally, Progress’ Australia and New Zealand managing director, Derek Brand, said most tier-1 enterprises in Australia have SOA, but it’s not as easy as just switching on a product.

“The biggest problem with SOA is it can be totally at odds with how projects were funded,” Brand said.

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